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Charlotte disability lawyers explain how Social Security makes a disability determination in a mental impairment case

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security disability benefits for a mental impairment, call a Charlotte disability lawyer at (704)815-6055 today.

To obtain Social Security disability benefits for a mental impairment, you must demonstrate that you have a long-lasting, severe and medically determinable mental impairment that prevents you working. A finding of disability due to mental illness requires (1) a diagnosis of a psychiatric impairment and (2) documentation of the severity of your impairment and the resulting limitations by a psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist. A diagnosis by a primary care physician (who is not a psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist) will not be sufficient. If necessary, the Social Security Administration will schedule a consultative examination to obtain this evidence.

Once it is established that you have a severe, medically determinable mental impairment, the Social Security decision-maker will evaluate your ability to perform work-related functions in four broad categories:

  1. Activities of daily living – What are you able to do on a daily basis? Can you, for example, dress yourself and take of your personal hygiene; take care of your home; shop; cook; drive? Can you do these things on your own, without assistance or monitoring or reminding?
  2. Social functioning – Does your impairment limit your ability to interact and communicate effectively with others?
  3. Concentration, persistence, pace – Are you able to focus and see a task through to completion, working at a reasonable pace? Evidence regarding this aspect of functioning may be gathered from psychological testing; from former employers; or by inference, based on your ability to concentrate and complete routine tasks at home (e.g., follow a recipe correctly, from start to finished dish).
  4. Deterioration or decompensation in a work or work-like setting – Is the stress of work, or a work-like setting, simply too much for you? This factor may manifest itself, for example, in poor judgment, or an inability to make a decision or interact with others.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security disability benefits for a mental impairment, and you are not currently represented by a Charlotte disability lawyer, we may be able to help. Please tell us about your situation using the Free Claim Evaluation form to the right, or contact us directly.

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